How I completed my “No Spend Month” Challenge – Part 1

โ๐‘ต๐’ ๐‘บ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’… ๐‘ด๐’๐’๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’ˆ๐’†โž
.
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โœง Not spending for an entire month seemed like a daunting task to me until I completed one. YES! I have successfully completed my โ€œ๐‘ต๐’ ๐‘บ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’… ๐‘บ๐’†๐’‘๐’•๐’†๐’Ž๐’ƒ๐’†๐’“โ€ and I am so happy about it.
โœง I have been working on my journey towards minimalism since the starting of 2019, and No Spend Month is one such way to change your mindset from โ€œ๐๐จ๐ญ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐กโ€ to โ€œ๐‡๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐œ๐กโ€.
โœง This fun challenge makes you realize how much you spend on ๐”๐ง๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ items, what are your impulse buys, how often do you make impulse purchases, and finally, what is really important in your life. In the entire month, you buy only the necessary stuff, reduce your spending on ๐”๐ง๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ items, and most importantly, reduce compulsive or impulse buys!!
I would be sharing the tips and tricks that worked for me in my NSM (No Spend Month) that helped me change my mindset and that might be useful for you too. If you too shop constantly and have made a decision to reduce your shopping or you are on your journey towards minimalism or you are interested in low buy/no buy, this would be a fun challenge for you.

No Spend Month Challenge, Save Money, Tips and tricks, to save money
Photo by maitree rimthong on Pexels.com

Tip 1: Turn off all the push notifications of all shopping sites : โ€œBuy One Get 2 Freeโ€ , โ€œFlat 50% offโ€ , โ€œBig Billion Daysโ€ -> Arenโ€™t these deals tempting for each one of us? The moment we see such deals flashing on our screen, we are bound to have a look at them and in most cases, we end up purchasing the products even without analyzing if it was needed or not.
โ˜ž The reason is Push Notifications. Push notifications trigger the release of Dopamine (a chemical produced by our brain when we eat delicious food, after exercise or when we feel pleasure). This chemical motivates us to repeat the same behaviour.
โ˜ž Push notifications are sort of drugs. The moment we receive them, it takes our brain from the place where it was to another one without our consent.
โ˜ž And studies have shown that if notifications are left unread, they generate high levels of stress in human mind.
โ˜ž Also, According to Microsoft Research, it takes an average of 25 minutes to get back on task after being interrupted by a notification during the work day.
๐Ÿ™ˆ I hope, the above facts are enough to reason out why we need to turn off the push notifications especially for e-commerce websites๐Ÿ˜

Tip 2: Make a list of necessary and unnecessary Items:ย  ย I like to prepare a list of necessary and unnecessary items on my diary and I keep updating this list from time to time based on my requirements.
โœ This list can vary from person to person, but in general, necessary items means things that we cannot do without and we NEED them.
โœ And, unnecessary items mean things which we WANT but we may not need them. For example, buying an extra pair of shoes is a WANT and not NEED.
โœ When you make this list, take your time and think twice on every item before categorizing them into ๐‘ต๐’†๐’„๐’†๐’”๐’”๐’‚๐’“๐’š or ๐‘ผ๐’๐‘ต๐’†๐’„๐’†๐’”๐’”๐’‚๐’“๐’š. For example, think ๐Ÿค” if you really need the item or you want to have it just for the sake of buying!
โœ Trust me, this actually works. By writing down things and categorizing them, your brain remembers it better and next time, when you go out for shopping, you know you only need to buy stuff from โ€œNecessary items listโ€.
โœ I have been doing this from last 6-7 months and this has saved me a lot of bucks.

Tip 3: Create a budget and stick to it:ย  Creating a budget is a crucial step towards managing your finances.
Create a budget that allows you to live a happy and comfortable life. In order to create a monthly budget, you need to track your finances for at least a month.

โ€œ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’•๐’ ๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’–๐’…๐’ˆ๐’†๐’• โ€œ
1. Fixed income- First, write down the fixed income that you are bound to get every month.
2. Other source of income- Then, make a note of incomes that are not fixed. For example , bonus, rental income or others and take out average of all incomes to get monthly estimate.
3. Fixed expenses- next step is to note down all your fixed expenses that you must pay each month like rent/loan, bills, groceries etc.
4. Not fixed expenses- Lastly, note down the expenses that are not fixed and vary every month like restaurants, entertainment, shopping, vacations etc.
Once all this is ready, make sure your expenses < your income. And you have sufficient money to save for future. Saving should be the priority.
Since fixed expenses cannot be altered, so we can make a budget for expenses that are not fixed to keep ourselves under check. I like to set aside certain amount of money for every expense that is not fixed and I make sure I do not go out of my budget unless something is really urgent. Similarly, you can create budget for fixed and โ€œnot fixed expensesโ€ and stick to it..

More tips To be continued in next post.

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